President Reuven Rivlin played down the threat the Iranian nuclear deal poses to Israel on Friday morning, telling local media in an interview marking one year to his presidency that while it is "very serious," it is not a "disaster."
"We know how to keep ourselves safe, we know that our destiny is here, we have no fear," Rivlin stated to Walla! News. "We know that we can defend ourselves."
Despite this, Rivlin noted that the threat Iran poses to Israel in the long run is clear.
"Iran is threatening us not only via a statement from the podium of the UN, but by sending terrorism to our fronts and borders," he explained. "We do not need Iran to have an atomic bomb in order for it to threaten the existence of Israel."
"One hundred thousand Iranian missiles held by Syria and Lebanon are the most serious threat to Israel's existence, and we take that into consideration."
The biggest problem with the Iran deal, he stated, is the lifting of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
"It's not just the matter of Iranian nuclear capability; lifting the sanctions would allow Iran to support terrorism even more," he said. "Not that they are not doing it now - they threaten our borders, try to infiltrate Jordan east of us and intend to take over the Sinai. They are everywhere."
However, he maintained that the Iran deal provides a glimmer of hope in exposing Iranians to the "good" of the West, echoing US President Barack Obama's theory that the Islamic Republic operates like any other liberal democracy: by the power of the people.
"If the people of Iran will come and will eventually realize that it is a lot more comfortable to live in peace with the world, I see this as an advantage," Rivlin reflected, adding that he believes that if this happens, the people could replace the Islamist power in Iran.
Regarding Israel's position on the deal and relations with the international community, Rivlin said the Jewish state will stand firm.
"Alongside the confrontation with Iran, we are committed to tell the world: we cannot be part of negotiations with them," he said. "The Iranian issue I see as some sign that we have become isolated. And when we become isolated on the Iranian issue, we are also beginning to isolate ourselves from the subject of the Palestinians; it is no less important. We should reach an agreement with the Palestinians, on how we can live together, not how we will continue to fight each other."
Rivlin advocated Israel growing closer again to the US, saying it is "the only way" to stand up to Palestinian pressure.
"Making the Palestinian issue, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Israeli-Palestinian 'tragedy' an international issue is extremely serious," he warned. "And isolation here is much more serious, and I am afraid of this."
Rivlin made similar comments in a Maariv interview to be published Friday, saying he is "worried" about the state of US-Israel relations.
“When there is prime minister and a president in two democratic countries that dig in on an issue like this, it is very worrying,” said Rivln. “I am not among those who usually become hysterical, but for the first time I see we are isolated.”